Sunday, 29 November 2009

In My Mailbox #45: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all descriptions from Amazon.




I have had one of the worst weeks ever this week. I don't know if any of you have heard, and I won't go into it too much, but Borders UK (where I work) has gone into administration. Unless someone buys the company, we'll lose our store and our jobs. It's a sad time for UK bookshops and booksellers at the moment, but I just want to say: good luck to all employees at every store, and you're all amazing. May the force be with us.


For review:


Girl, Aloud by Emily Gale (I am so looking forward to reading this!)

Kass Kennedy is in the spotlight, thanks to her Dad. He plans on selling her soul to the Devil - or at any rate to Simon Cowell when she finds herself pushed into an X-Factor audition. Kass could just say no, but her dad's manic-depressive mood swings are a cnstant worry and he has her in an emotional half-Nelson. Just when things couldn't get worse, Kass falls for a gorgeous older boy, also named Cass. She's amazed when he appears to like her, but it turns out this boy, is her best friend's long-term crush. What's a girl to do? Everything Kass thought she understood starts to fall apart and the only person she can turn to ... grumpy Simon Cowell (literally in her dreams|). She might not be able to sing her way out of a paper bag, but Kass discovers that she isn't a choker when it comes to sorting out real life.



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Magic Under Glass by Jackie Dolamore (UK proof/ARC. I was very excited when I opened this! Yay!)

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.


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Monster Republic: The Divinity Project
by Ben Horton
(I love the cover of this book, and it sounds ace!)

An explosion in a nuclear power plant. Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants. A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction. 'No', whispered Cameron to the monster in the glass. And he watched it shaking its hideous head. 'That's not me. You're not me'. As commercial and compelling as a computer game, this is the first book in a major new series.








Bought:





The Looking Glass Wars
by Frank Beddor
(I love the sound of this, and I don't know why I haven't bought it before!)

Alyss, born in Wonderland, is destined to be a warrior queen. After a bloody coup topples the Heart regime, Alyss is exiled to another world entirely, where she is adopted into a new family, renamed Alice and befriended by Lewis Carroll. At age 20 she returns to Wonderland to battle Redd and lead Wonderland into its next golden age of imagination.






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Seeing Redd by Sarah Frank Beddor (How nice is this cover?!)


*The Looking Glass Wars spoilers*

Alyss of Wonderland's rule has only just begun, but the Queendom and her White Imagination are already under threat. Someone has resurrected the brutal Glass Eyes, and they are attacking Wonderland on all sides. Has renegade Redd Heart freed herself and her assassin Cat from the prism of the Heart Crystal? Can Alyss trust Boarderland's King Arch, as he extends a benevolent helping hand? A battle is raging but who is the enemy?




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Night World: The Ultimate Fan Guide
by L. J. Smith & Annette Pollert
(This is a must-buy for all Night World fans!)

You loved Secret Vampire and are counting down to the Strange Fate apocalypse. But who was the first made vampire? How do you properly greet a witch? And why are shapeshifters and werewolves rivals? Prepare to test your Night World knowledge with trivia questions from all nine books; get the inside information about the clans, the soulmate principle, Circle Daybreak, and the four Wild Powers; and take two quizzes to find out how you fit into the Night World.

Best of all, L.J. Smith shares her inspiration for the series, answers the questions you've been asking, and even reveals fun facts about herself in this official guide. Plus, look for the sneak peek at the dramatic conclusion to the series, Strange Fate!


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Shadowland by Alyson Noel (Again, I love this cover. And it's hardback! :D )


*Evermore & Blue Moon spoilers*

Ever and Damen have traveled through countless past lives—and fought off the world’s darkest enemies—so they could be together forever. But just when their long-awaited destiny is finally within reach, a powerful curse falls upon Damen…one that could destroy everything. Now a single touch of their hands or a soft brush of their lips could mean sudden death—plunging Damen into the Shadowland. Desperate to break the curse and save Damen, Ever immerses herself in magick—and gets help from an unexpected source…a surfer named Jude. Although she and Jude have only just met, he feels startlingly familiar. Despite her fierce loyalty to Damen, Ever is drawn to Jude, a green-eyed golden boy with magical talents and a mysterious past. She’s always believed Damen to be her soulmate and one true love—and she still believes it to be true. But as Damen pulls away to save them, Ever’s connection with Jude grows stronger—and tests her love for Damen like never before…

Friday, 27 November 2009

Mia the Meek by Eileen Boggess

From Amazon: Mia Fullerton has entered her freshman year at St. Hilary s with a goal: to lose her nickname Mia the Meek, and soar into a confident high school career. Unfortunately, her transformation is made harder by her English-teacher mom, bratty little brother, already popular nemesis, and new neighbor. Although she s prepared herself for the battle by reading Excruciatingly Shy: How to Defeat Public Fear and Become Popular, her freshman year remains a series of uphill battles.

I love funny, entertaining books, and Mia the Meek certainly falls into those categories. Filled with extremely likeable characters, a fast pace, and more embarrassing moments than a girl should ever have to go through, it's definitely a book to add to your wishlist.

I loved Boggess's writing style, and her witty dialogue really jumped off the page. The teen vocabulary was realistic, and I never once thought the characters were too old for their age. She has a great handle on contemporary teen life, and I think that's a really important skill to possess.

As a character, Mia was everything I like. She wasn't perfect or ridiculously popular, and instead was normal and down to earth. New next door neighbour Tim was a smart-mouthed idiot at times, and even I felt like punching him, so I don't know how Mia restrained herself. Talk about self-control. Or am I just overly picky about people? Hmm, that's probably the more likely explanation!

I have no major complaints about Mia the Meek, though I would have liked it to have been longer -- just as I was really getting emotionally invested in the story, it ended. Luckily, there are two other books in the series waiting for me, and I hope Boggess writes more. This is a highly enjoyable tween book for YA readers of all ages, and I for one can't wait to see what happens to Mia next.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

US Vs. UK: The Looking Glass Wars Covers

US // UK

I personally like both of these covers, and the difference in tone/colour is pretty fascinating. The US one looks quite ominous, while the UK one looks more Wonderland-y.

The army on the US cover remind me of Genral Grievous's men from Star Wars. They have a very similar style, and I love it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge

Next year, I am going to be participating in the 2010 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

To learn more about the challenge, visit Krist's info post here, or see an excerpt below:

What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?
  • The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.
  • Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.
  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!

Here's a list of some titles I'm hoping to read:

1. The Mark by Jen Nadol (Bloomsbury USA, January 2010)
2. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard (Viking Juvenile, January 2010)
3. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (Simon Pulse, January 2010)
4. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young (Razorbill, February 2010)
5. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore (Bloomsbury, February 2010)
6. Pretty Bad Things by C. J. Skuse (Chicken House, March 2010)
7. The Truth About Leo by David Yelland (Puffin, April 2010)
8. Mortlock by Jon Mayhew (Bloomsbury, April 2010)
9 . Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (Simon & Schuster, April 2010)
10. Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw (Headline, May 2010)
11. Sea by Heidi Kling (Putnam Juvenile, June 2010)
12. 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale by Shannon Delany (St. Martin's Press, June 2010)


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Debut books read:

January:

1. Monster Republic by Ben Horton
2. When I Was Joe by Keren David
3. The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
4. Skins: The Novel by Ali Cronin
5. Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
6. My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
7. Desperate Measures by Laura Summers
8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
9. Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
10. Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw
11. Pretty Bad Things by C. J. Skuse

Waiting On Wednesday: Wintercraft

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

* Published by: Headline (UK)
* Format: Paperback (UK)
* Release Date:
May 13th, 2010 (UK)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon:
Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back...and prisoners, including Kate's uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. To help Artemis, Edgar and herself, Kate must honour her pact with a murderer and come face to face with the true nature of death.

Wintercraft just sounds brilliant. I've been looking forward to it for a while now, and I can't wait to read it and see the cover. It's something different for Headline, and I hope it does really well for them!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Beautiful by Amy Reed

From Amazon: When Cassie moves from the tiny town where she has always lived to a suburb of Seattle, she is determined to leave her boring, good-girl existence behind. This is Cassie's chance to stop being invisible and become the kind of girl who's worth noticing. Stepping into her new identity turns out to be easier than Cassie could have ever imagined...one moment, one choice, will change everything.

I have very mixed feelings about Beautiful. I admire its honesty and lack of censorship, but there's one thing that bothered me: I didn't like any of the characters.

I didn't think Cassie's motivation behind her drastic change in behaviour was explained enough, so I never really empathised with her. To me, she just seemed easily led and swayed by anything and anyone. I understand that thirteen-year-olds are impressionable, but some of the situations she found herself in could have been so easily avoided had she just thought about what she was doing.

Cassie's friends, Alex and Sarah, were also hard to follow. Alex was a bad influence, while Sarah was so scarred from past abuse that she just wandered around in a daze. I didn't like either of them, and the events of the final few chapters didn't resonate with me at all.

The first person present tense narration was a nice change, and I enjoyed being right there as Cassie's story unfolded. Amy Reed wasn't afraid to write about sex and drugs, and although some readers will feel uncomfortable with the content, I think it's important to not shy away from these topics.

The events of Beautiful do happen in real life, and I think they should continue to be realistically portrayed in YA fiction. Everything isn't always perfect, and perhaps Reed's biggest achievement is breaking the mould and simply telling it how it is.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self edited by Joseph Galliano

From Amazon: In Dear Me, some of the world's best loved personalities have written just such a letter. Dear Me includes letters from three knights, a handful of Oscar winners, a bevy of Baftas, an intrepid explorer, a few teenage pop stars, and an Archbishop! The letters range from the compassionate to the shocking via hilarity and heartbreak, but they all have one thing in common: they offer a unique insight into the teenager who would grow up to be.

Dear Me is a unique book. It's funny and nostalgic, and is written by a fantastic compilation of the world's biggest personalities.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to relive your early years knowing what you know now? Or to be able to contact yourself in the past, and give some friendly advice? If you've thought about either of these, you need to read this book. Not only are the featured celebrities frank and painfully honest, they're also thoroughly entertaining in their letters, notes and lists. I laughed out loud at Jonathan Ross and Alan Carr's entries, and Betty Smith's talk of a World War immediately struck a chord with me.

These people have all done so much, and to read about their advice for themselves is both comforting and reassuring. They obviously had normal worries and fears at age sixteen, and for them to share this so openly is brilliant. They really do put your mind at ease, and they all show you that dreams aren't always as unattainable as we think.

Dear Me is a great book for any age, and is perfect for fans of humour and autobiographies. You get to laugh uncontrollably, learn about life and get a glimpse into the minds of some highly influential and entertaining people. £1 from the sale of each copy goes to Elton John's AIDS Foundation, and is just one of the many good reasons to buy this book.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

In My Mailbox #44: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all descriptions from Amazon.




I had a very exciting week this week: New Moon was finally released, and I got some very exciting books. Those of you that have seen the movie, what did you think? I saw it 4 times yesterday and LOVED it! (No surprises there, eh?!) :)



For review:




Three Wishes
by Isabelle Merlin
(This sounds good!)

When Rose creates a blog for an English assignment, she doesn't realize it will change her life forever. An elegant stranger arrives to announce that Rose has an aristocratic French grandfather who would like to meet her. Upon arriving at her grandfather’s magnificent castle, Rose becomes enchanted with her new life, and particularly with Charlie, a charming boy who is equally besotted with Rose. But as Rose begins to delve deeper into her family's past, her fairytale turns into a nightmare as it becomes clear that someone wants her dead!






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Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self edited by Joseph Galliano (This is such a cool book!)

If you were to write a letter to your 16-year-old self, what would it say?

In Dear Me, some of the world's best loved personalities have written just such a letter. Dear Me includes letters from three knights, a handful of Oscar winners, a bevy of Baftas, an intrepid explorer, a few teenage pop stars, an avid horticulturalist, pages and pages of bestselling authors, a dishy doctor, a full credit of film directors, a lovey of top actors, a giggle of comedians and an Archbishop! The letters range from the compassionate to the shocking via hilarity and heartbreak, but they all have one thing in common: they offer a unique insight into the teenager who would grow up to be.... Stephen Fry, Annie Lennox, Paul O'Grady, Jackie Collins, Fay Weldon, Alan Carr, Peter Kay, Debbie Harry, Brenda Blethyn , Jonathan Ross, Liz Smith, Will Young, Alison Moyet, Rosanne Cash, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Yoko Ono, Emma Thompson… to name but a few.



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Hunger by Michael Grant (I love the UK cover for this!)

*Gone Spoilers*

The clock is ticking for Sam Temple and the kids of Perdido Beach but it's not the big one-five that they face now; it's starvation that threatens the FAYZ. In an abandoned mine shaft a faceless animal lurks, pulling the strings, toying with human and mutant alike. And he's hungry - hungry in the darkness. An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon, fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the 'normals' the buck must stop somewhere: with the 'freaks'. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning. For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he's got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic whiphand, Drake, by his side. And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed.



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Jack Flint and the Dark Ways by Joe Donnelly (UK proof/ARC. I've never heard of this series but it sounds good. This is book #3.)

Continuing Jack's quest to find his father, Jack, Kerry and Corrie have passed through the gate into the peaceful summerland of Uaine. Hoping for a period of respite after all their adventures, they quickly discover that all is not well. The power-hungry spellbinder, Bodrun, has stolen the Copperplates - protective magical talismans - and released the terrifying Nightshades into the world. These creatures stalk the night, searching for a way to break through to other worlds and wreak havoc. They will do anything to get their claws into the heartstone. With The Book of Ways to guide them, Jack and his friends must travel deep into Bodrun's lair, facing gargoyles, giant spiders, walls of fire, shrieking all-consuming Nightshades, before a final confrontation with the evil spellbinder himself. And as Jack finds himself in the midst of this nightmare, he is forced to face up to what really happened to his father so long ago.


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The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford (WWII & vampires... could this sound any better?!)

It’s 1938, and the tentacles of Hitler’s terrifying Third Reich have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be clean of all bloodlines deemed tainted or undesirable…including vampires.
London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent. Though vampires try not to interfere with human politics, Hitler’s terrible plans force them into action. They resolve to send five of their most formidable vampires to Berlin— millennials that have lived over 1000 years and whose age and wisdom make them close to invulnerable— to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy the growing Nazi war machine.

The brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, but her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success. She must summon all her strength to endure the separation from her lover Eamon, whom she made almost eight centuries ago, but whose lack of millennial status makes him an unacceptable choice for this operation. Though he longs to join her, his duty to Brigit is best served from afar, by nurturing their deep psychic connection and reinforcing her spirit with his fierce devotion and memories of his tender embrace.

But as the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable than any human force they’ve yet encountered and more monstrous than they'd ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free Europe. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.


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My Love Lies Bleeding
by Alyxandra Harvey
(I'm excited to read this - can't wait!)

The Blakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.





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The Splendour Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore (UK proof/ARC. I was so excited when I opened this, I've been wanting to read it since it was released in the US. It came wrapped in black paper, with petals and a velvety ribbon, along with a hand-written letter made to look old. Brilliant!)

Sylvie Davies is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage. Still reeling Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history ...and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand. Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window ...Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?



Bought:


The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate (I love Lauren's writing, so I hope this is good!)

A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake. Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party—when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead. From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.

Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.



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One Day by David Nicholls (This adult book has been recommended to me by so many people that I just had to buy a copy. It sounds amazing!)

'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.' He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.'

15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?

Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.




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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (I love hardcovers so I had to buy this one. I like all the shinyness!)

There were no surprises in Gatlin County. We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere. At least, that's what I thought. Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.




Gift:


Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, illustrated by Laura Fernandez & Rick Jacobsen (I've never read this, so thanks to Tundra Books for sending me a copy!)

Anne (with an ‘e’ of course)starts out as a mistake. The elderly Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had planned on adopting a boy to help Matthew with the chores on their Prince Edward Island farm. What are they to do with the red-haired, high-spirited girl who arrives instead? Anne Shirley, with her boundless imagination and heart, slowly brings joy into the narrow lives of those around her, and into the lives of readers who have delighted in her adventures since Lucy Maud Montgomery began writing about her in 1905.

Anne’s courage, her enthusiasm, and her ability to love, have made her one of literature’s most beloved characters in Canada and around the world. This beautifully illustrated volume, with a foreword by Kate Macdonald Butler, one of L. M. Montgomery’s grandchildren, is a treasure for those who find in Anne a familiar friend as well as for those who are discovering this “kindred spirit” for the first time.


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And last but not least, this absolutely made my week: a signed copy of Hush, Hush from Becca herself! You guys all know how much I love this book, so you can imagine how excited I was when I opened this package. Huge thanks to Becca for this! (and the cool bookmark!)




Happy reading, everyone!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Hush, Hush, The Hollow & Spider Giveaway Winners!

Sorry it took me so long to sort all the winners for my giveawayys - there were so many entries that I just haven't had the time to go through them all! Anyway, here are all the winners:


Hush, Hush:



Charlotte_dx / The Book Bug / YA Vampire Books / Allison / alexwolfchan



The Hollow:



Leanne_luce / Alessandra / Nina / Borostyan / Jill of the O.W.L.



Spider:



Rebecca / Brodie / Michelle



I've sent emails to everyone, so hopefully you all got them. Thanks to everyone who entered all these - I couldn't believe how many entries they got!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

US Vs. UK: Tempted (House of Night) Covers

US // UK

I really don't like the UK cover for Tempted. I much prefer the US one, as it has a much better image and cool HoN patterns throughout the whole jacket. I do prefer the UK title font, but I just don't think the girl looks right. Is it just me?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Waiting On Wednesday: Mortlock

Waiting on Wednesday idea from Jill at Breaking the Spine.

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Mortlock by Jon Mayhew

* Published by: Bloomsbury (UK)
* Format: Hardcover (UK)
* Release Date:
April 5th, 2010 (UK)
* On Amazon: here.

From Amazon:
The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician's stage act, the brother an undertaker's assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other's existence. Until, that is, three terrible Aunts descend on the girl's house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave. Cardamom was one of three explorers on an expedition to locate the legendary Amarant, a plant with power over life and death. Now, pursued by flesh-eating crow-like ghuls, brother and sister must decode the message and save themselves from its sinister legacy.

I love the sound of this book, and I absolutely love the cover. Flesh-eating crow things sound fantastic, as does a plant with power over life and death. I can't wait for this one!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Victor by Marlayne Giron

From Amazon: A benevolent King; ...his sword of power; ...a ruthless traitor bent on revenge; ...and the faithful son who stands in his way with the woman destined to share his throne. Who shall emerge as the victor in this epic struggle between good and evil to govern the lives of hapless men?

I enjoyed The Victor, because it was completely different to something I'd normally read. It was well-written and engaging, and I was surprised by my attachment to the characters. I loved the fantasy element to the book, as powerful swords are one of my favourite fantasy creations. In this case, Ephlal is the sword in question, and is utilised well throughout the story.

Although The Victor is grounded in fantasy and adventure, it's more about the characters, and their quest for freedom, love and redemption. Betrayal is the most noticeable theme, and is a constant source of conflict between the characters. While Eloth and Joshua are trying to keep their people together, Lucius is trying to tear their kingdom apart, and is doing so at the cost of everyone's respect and loyalty.

Llyonesse was a great female character and, while I'm not too fond of her name, she really came into her own in the latter part of the book. Older and wiser, she goes for what she wants, and stands by Joshua in his quest to save his kingdom.

A love story lies at the core of The Victor, and I couldn't help being drawn into the world of Joshua and Llyonesse. Their relationship was one of epic longing, and Giron wrote it realistically. I'm really glad I gave this book a chance, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

In My Mailbox #43: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all descriptions from Amazon.




I had a brilliant week this week, and that's mostly thanks to Orion, Puffin and Simon & Schuster UK. I carried most of these books all around London with me, which was both fun and scary at the same time (I didn't want to damage them!). I haven't got time to post a cover and synopsis for each book, but if you click on the title, it will take you straight to the relevant Amazon page. :)



From publishers / for review:



Bought


Hope everyone had a great week, and happy reading!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Report & Pics: Puffin New Talent Night & My Bookish Days in London

On Monday, I travelled down to London for the Puffin New Talent night. It was my first time in the city, and I loved it! It's very different to Manchester, but in a good way. I saw a few cool things, including the Narnia staircase at Hamleys toy shop (amazing!), the view from the 10th floor of the Strand building (where Churchill stood to watch the bombs fall in WWII - thanks for this H!), Foyles bookshop (wow!) and Paloma Faith (I walked past her on Oxford Steet!).

Anyway... back to the books. Four authors attended Puffin's New Talent night, and presented their books for 2010: Helen Grant (The Glass Demon), Alex Scarrow (Time Riders), Jason Bradbury (Atomic Swarm) and David Yelland (The Truth About Leo). I didn't take any pictures of the authors (didn't take my camera!), but Liz from My Favourite Books did, and you can see them on her blog here. It was great to finally meet Liz and Mark... hi guys! I also got to meet some Puffin people who I've chatted to over email, which was great. They were all lovely!

Each author spoke about their upcoming books, then chatted to all the attendees afterwards. I spoke to Alex, Jason and Helen, and they were all kind enough to sign my books. David Yelland had to run off, so I didn't get chance to meet him, but maybe next time. I must say, his book, The Truth About Leo, sounds amazing, and his presentation almost had us all in tears. It's also the first time I've ever come across an embargoed press release.. we weren't allowed to talk about it until Tuesday!

So, that was Monday over. On to Tuesday, or what will now be known as my best book day ever.

We (me and my friend Charley, who I asked to come with me) started off with a meeting back at the Puffin offices, where we talked about everything from Vampire Academy, Beautiful Creatures and Sarah Dessen. It was so much fun, all the Puffin people are so enthusiastic about the books they work on, and are all generally amazing. I met the UK editor of Love, Aubrey and Sarah Dessen which, believe me, was pretty exciting!

After leaving the Puffin offices, we then went to lunch with Nina from Orion Children's Books, where I had a lovely tuna salad and got to hear all about their 2010 books. They've got some brilliant stuff coming up, and I can't wait to read it all. Just the mere mention of Marcus Sedgwick made me squee slightly... I do love everything he writes!

From there we went to the UK Simon & Schuster offices, where me and Charley got very over-excited and just kind of repeated how much we love S&S and their many YA books. Seriously, these guys publish Hush, Hush, which I love, so you can imagine my over enthusiasm for this little trip. Kat (who, by the way, is ace), went through their 2010 schedule with us, and gave us many press releases and finished covers. 2010 is going to be fantastic in S&S land -- I'm excited about every single YA book they're publishing, especially Hex Hall and the new editions of Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. I can't wait.

That pretty much wrapped up our one and a half days in London. We came back with many books, exciting information and a cool green Puffin bag. It was amazing to see the publishing houses and meet my online publicist friends, and I'm so glad I decided to go and brave London. Thanks to Kat, Nina, H & all the ladies at Puffin for a great two days. Roll on 2010!


Friday, 13 November 2009

News: New Uglies, Pretties & Specials UK Covers!

When Kat at Simon & Schuster UK showed me these new Uglies, Pretties and Specials covers a few days ago, I was excited. Really excited - I LOVE them!

I haven't read the series, but I definitely will do as soon as I get these new editions. They're amazing, and even nicer in person -- the colours stand out more (Specials is more green), and they're very eye-catching. All three books are released in the UK on March 4th, 2010, in paperback format.

What do you reckon'? Do you like them?




Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

From Amazon: Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend's popularity to his own advantage. Recorded in his diary with comic pictures and his very own words, this test of Greg and Rowley's friendship unfolds with hilarious results.

For some unknown reason, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of those books I've always heard about, but never had any interest in. Still, it's never too late to catch up!

Greg is an instantly likeable character, and is trying to navigate his way through adolescence as best he can. He has some hilarious ideas, and though most unfortunately backfire, they're fun to read about all the same. Although Greg's little brother Manny doesn't play a huge part in the story, he's one of my favourite characters. He just looks so cute in the cartoons, and is like a smaller version of Plug from the Beano's Bash Street Kids strip. Plus, he gets my sympathy vote -- I felt really sorry for him when Greg destroyed his tiny snowman.

I love how this book is divided between text and cartoons. The cartoons are well drawn and stylish, and are a great compliment to the story. They illustrate Greg's life in a hilarious and exciting way, and are no doubt part of Diary of a Wimpy Kid's worldwide appeal. I can understand why younger teenage boys love this series, and Jeff Kinney has certainly done well for himself.

This book is like the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series for boys, and while not quite as laugh out loud funny, it's brilliant if you want a quick, entertaining read. I'll definitely be buying the rest of the series, and luckily for me, I'm not too far behind.